I’m an avid fan of color coding my planner and have accumulated quite the collection of col0r-coding planner supplies over the past couple of years. This post is a roundup of my favorite color coding supplies (each costing less than $5!)
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These are the main tools I use for color coding:
Pens are quick, convenient and come in lots of colors – perfect for color coding. My favorite color-coding pen brands are the Papermate Inkjoy Gel pens (these are some of the most expensive pens I’ve purchased but oh so worth it). A cheaper alternative are the pens I got from Daiso (shown in the picture above) which were only $2.80.
If you’re just getting started with color-coding you may want to start with the Frixion erasable pens. The medium size (0.7mm tip) if my favorite but doesn’t come in a lot of colors. You can purchase them individually at Big W and Target for around $3 – $4. The 0.38mm version of the Frixion pens do come in a lot of colors, but I haven’t been able to find them in any office supplies stores in Australia – only online reailers and eBay which have really expensive shipping to Australia 🙁 The Frixion brand also have erasable highlighters.
If you want to save money and time and just use black pens in your planner, then highlighters are a good alternative. Either highlight the entire text, or draw a circle or a square checkbox beside to add the color-coding.
The retractable highlights shown in the image were a random find at Woolworths for $3 🙂
Colored dots are my favorite for color-coding. They’re perfect for list making, flagging important things, due dates for school etc.
Icon stickers are also great for color coding and save a lot of room. List stickers such as the Erin Condren full box size can be used to create a categorised list, making it easy to keep track of what to do’s you need to do when, and also to maintain a balance so you’re not scheduling too much of one category (such as work) over another (such as your personal life).
I store small sticker sheets in a mini receipts folder I got from Kmart, and store large sticker sheets in a binder.
My favorite washi tape is thin washi (0.25” wide or thinner). These were ideal for the header sections when I used to use the vertical Erin Condren Planner.
This size is also perfect for creating additional sections in a planner (such as turning a horizontal style planner into 2 sections per day which is ideal for work and personal list making).
I’ve also used washi tape for dividing a page into multiple sections (more pretty and interesting than just a hand drawn line on the page) and for making categorised lists.
I use normal size washi tape for color coding the notes pages of my planner. I place half the washi on one side, stick it down, then fold the other half on the back side of the page. I color code for different lists but you could also do this with your notebooks for school, or to separate budgeting versus to do’s versus health tracking etc. in a notebook.
Sticky notes are ideal for temporary plans so you don’t have to white things out (although you can also use the Frixion erasable pens), and for recurring tasks so you don’t have to re-write things multiple times each week.
My favorite brands for color coding are Post it and J Burrrows (I’ve only seen J Burrows at Officeworks). These brands can be pricey though so be sure to check out your local discount shop for a cheap knock-off brand (like the Reject shop and Kmart if you live in Australia like I do, or I assume Dollar Tree will have them if you live in the USA.
6. Sticky Flags (transparent)
Transparent sticky flags are idea for meal planning and creating a prioritised to do list. I print out my list, grab some sticky notes and choose a color code. For example, I place a pink sticky note over urgent tasks (I normally use red but they’re hard to find in sticky notes), then orange for tasks of second-most importance then yellow etc.
For meal planning, I have my go to meals list (the 30 minute meals page is from the rainbow recipe binder & meal planning kit in my printables shop), then use sticky flags for dinner & lunch plans for the week.
- Yellow = lunch
- Blue = seafood (as blue reminds me of the ocean!)
- Pink = Pork
- Orange = Beef
- Green= Chicken
I don’t have sticky notes over 7 different dishes as some nights I’ll have leftovers from the night before.
If you don’t have a lot of different colored sticky notes, you could place sticky notes over the meals for dinner, and place the sticky note at the end of the meal (like I did with Quiche) for lunch.
I got the arrow sticky flags in the image below for a dollar from Stacks discount store. I’ve also see them at The Reject Shop and Kmart.
These are idea for keeping together receipts by expense category and keeping together papers to be filed. I also like to use them to hold my place in my planner (i.e. to hold together the weeks foregone so I can simply open my planner straight away to the current week instead of having to flick through multiple pages to find what week I’m up to.
My favorite binder clips are the Ditto brand from Officeworks – they come in lots of pretty colors (and only cost $3.50). The ones pictured in the first image in this post are from the Reject Shop (you can get a pack of rainbow colores ones for $2)
I use these in much the same way as binder clips, they are also ideal for holding together pages if you’re using printables to create a DIY planner, especially if you prefer to print single sided (like I do).
Paperclips are also ideal for if you’re new to color coding to keep track of what colors represent what categories, or for keeping the weekly grocery list within your planner.
Like with the binder clips, my favorite places to find rainbow packs are the Reject Shop and Officework’s Ditto brand.
Make sure you’ve subscribed as I’ll be sharing a post soon on how to color code your planner for school using sticky notes!
Binders have so many uses such as:
- Recipe binders & dividers for each recipe section with your recipe binder
- Household Binder
- Storing warranties and manuals
- Storing important documents (birth certificates, insurance, property documents etc.)
- Bills & budgeting
- Personalise school notebooks
- Home organization/household binders (separate binder for each section or as dividers within the one binder) including budgeting, important info, meal planning, cleaning, taxes, blog planning, health & fitness, travel, lists, teacher planner, craft projects,
- Warranties & manuals
- Planners (don’t forget a pretty binder cover for your planner!)
- Memorabilia (children’s scrapbook, keepsakes from school drawings, awards etc.)
- Organize your planner sticker collection
Binders also look really pretty lined up on a shelf 🙂 My favorite place for different color binders is Officeworks. Amazon also have a nice range. You could buy white binders (which are usually cheaper than colored binders) and add color-coded inserts to the front (get the clear view ones). This is what I did to color-code my household binder (I use blue for budgeting, pink for cleaning etc.)
Want more tips for color coding your planner? Learn how to color code your planner so you’ll actually use it effectively.